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tv   The Civil War Paroling Gen. Lees Army After Appomattox  CSPAN  April 7, 2019 10:00am-10:46am EDT

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on c-span two. cheney's editor of the book petersburg throughout -- to appomattox, the end of the war in virginia. she talks about how the union army developed the parole system for confederate general robert e lee's troops after the surrender following the battle of appomattox courthouse. she details the stories of confederate soldiers from across the south who surrendered in the wake of that maddox. a seminarwas part of cohosted by longwood university. and appomattox courthouse national historical park.
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>> published five books, a couple of them listed on the program. civil war reunion and the reconciliation. she edited petersburg to appomattox. another one not on the list is burying the dead but not the past. nottalk today is we were surrender, per rolling lee's army after appomattox. [applause] caroline: good afternoon. it's nice to see so many
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familiar faces in the audience and i know this is the time right after lunch. i know what happens after lunch. i will try to keep you all awake. before i get started, a few thank you's. thank you to longwood university for hosting us. thank you to the folks at appomattox, especially robin snyder and i cannot say enough about how helpful patrick has been for the past couple of years i've been working on this project. he has been more than generous which i know both professionally and personally is a trait of national park service pope -- service folks. he does deserve and applause. [applause] thank twowant to other historians in the audience whose work has been so important to mine and that is chris and ron. i use their books all the time and i am so appreciative of the work they have done. appomattox. to
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in the years since 1865 as many of you know, appomattox has become shorthand for the swift closed the civil war prompted by grant's magnanimous turn and you are probably well familiar with this term, confederate soldiers would turn in their arms and go home on parole not to be disturbed by u.s. forces unless they broke the law. but as major general george h sharp, head of the u.s. bureau of military information and assistant marshall observed, only one month after the ofrender, "a large number lee's army were not paroled at appomattox. " of the approximate 60,000 men available to the army of northern virginia after the evacuation petersburg and richmond on april 2, only somewhere between 26000 and soldiers were officially
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paroled at appomattox between the ninth and 12. if we account for the casualtiesly 11,530 sustained between april 2 and eighth, a conservative estimate 20,000uggest at least were not paroled at appomattox. to date, using documents like this from the national archives, i have compiled a list of almost 16,000 soldiers who were paroled somewhere beyond appomattox. appomattox thus creates the great irony. it was and continues to be seen as the end of lee's army and therefore the war. a significant portion of the army of northern virginia did not surrender in the small village. discovering what happened to them is the story of my talk today. we had other discoveries of ships and buildings but i want
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to talk about rediscovering these men, why they weren't there, where they ended up in how their war ended. let's start with why they were not at appomattox. their reasons were varied as the men inside. many had been starving stragglers unable to keep up with the relentless pace of lee's army as it pushed west. others do the writing on the wall during the retreat, leaving before the surrender. the example of this was benjamin sims, he was a conscript who enlisted in 1863 and sims fled along with much of his regiment. every man the woods for himself. adding he joined up about a mile from the field. on april find a spot 2. he and his comrade simply went home.
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like others, he believed there was little use in revisiting anymore. -- resisting anymore. others made it to the field but decided to forgo the humiliation of surrender. have davidsed and we mcintosh who serves as a great example. here he is writing in his journal. my first inclination was to stay with my command, reflect was that my only duty was my country and as long as that could be of service -- as i could be of , unable to witness what as the spectacle surrender, he and others -- they ripped off their badges of rank, cut to a swamp leading their forces with them for several miles before forcing a black man to guide them southwest. they would make their way south
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hoping to meet up with the army and continue the war. --air number of calvary men mapsis one of those great by the civil war trust. recognizing his uncle had been ,orced to can picture late colonel thomas mumford and about 2400 of their troops would had west towards lynchburg. ride and surrender himself to mead on the 11th and get his parole. other calvary men made their way to lynchburg. --ers never made their way made it all the way to lynchburg . ofhis diary, the evening april 9, he noted the noble army
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of northern virginia was surrendered today at 10:00 in the calvary order to buckingham courthouse. having heard the news though, harding headed home. wrote, camey out he down the river and stop for the night. from there the next a he headed east, reaching his home the following sunday. what about the terms, what do harding,about men like mumford and other calvary men who had escaped the surrender. on april 10, the commissioners that had been -- here you have your three union and your confederate commissioners. they discussed many issues, one of the most pressing is who is to be included in the surrender.
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is gettingt, gordon rather frustrated with the conversation, the terms thus far have been magnanimous and continue to be so, he gives an impassioned speech and all generals agree the term should include all of these troops except any calvary that had made its escape and any artillery more than 20 miles from appomattox courthouse the time of surrender. grant had come to a similar orclusion either on his own he hears about an early version of the agreement, regardless in the afternoon of april 10 as he is writing towards parksville, telegraphreceives a from the secretary of war asking who is to be included in the surrender. in particular, stanton is worried about the troops operating in northern and eastern virginia and more specifically he is worried about
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mosby. he says were the troops operating in northern and eastern virginia to be included in the surrender or those under lee's immediate personal command. replies, the surrender was only as the men left with the pursuit army at the time of surrender. are noto had escaped included. so first he says they are not included, but in the same response, we see grant being flexible in his terms. he said he believes they should be offered to all the fragments of the army of northern virginia so that they might voluntarily surrender. generosity flowed naturally. we should be looking at grant here. generosity flowed naturally from
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commander the winning which is part of what lincoln had wanted him to do, so he is putting forth what lincoln had told him all along. it is not merely generosity that motivates grant. instead, his willingness to make these terms flexible reflected his desire to bring a swift and clear and to lee's army. centerpiece of the confederate national army and he wants that to come to an end once and for all. recognize and stanton the significant number of lee's men had not surrendered, that had either escaped, evaded or been detached. as such on the evening of april ,0, stanton sent this dude commanding the military division up in winchester.
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stanton sends him instructions to print and circulate the surrender terms. tonton instructed hancock all detachments and stragglers, detachment and stragglers in the army of northern virginia who turned themselves into union authorities would be paroled under the same conditions extended to those of appomattox and then they would be allowed to return home. those who did not surrender would be captured and held as prisoners of war. circulars such as the ones you see before were posted to route shenandoah valley reproducing the entire exchange of letters between lee and grant. throughout thed lower valley and i know you can't see this well, but this is the type of thing that showed up the next day, a stern message
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from hancock about these terms. he writes in part every military restraint should be removed that is not absolutely essential. and your sons, your husbands and brothers shall remain with you unmolested. but those who fail to turn treatedes in would be as prisoners of war and held. he offers one more rule of caution especially those who have been harboring marauding bands. every outrage committed by them will be file -- followed with a severe inflection. it is for you to determine the amount of freedom you are to enjoy. here andu to pause consider the uncertainty of this moment. while people are celebrating, washington is celebrating the surrender. in places like the valley, it is still very uncertain what this means. does it means the war -- does it
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mean the war is coming to an end. what about those unattached to lee's main army who might form other guerrilla parties. tod goes out from washington other union commanders that the same commissions, the same terms offered it appomattox need to be offered everywhere. along the northern neck near norfork along the border with maryland, union officers are charged with expending -- extending the same terms. all detached parties and stragglers, no differentiation was to be made who complied with the conditions of the surrender would be paroled and allowed to go home. not would be captured and held as prisoners of war. underscoring all of this was grant's fear of continued guerrilla warfare. grant hoped all the rebels would soon lay down their guns, including the rangers.
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perhaps it was a conversation with lee on the morning of april 10 that had to give him pause or sway his thinking. grant recalled in his memoirs lee had pointed out the south was a big country and we might have to march over at three or four times before the war entirely ended. grant was thinking about this. if all those men did not lay down their arms, would they regroup, would they join with forces like mosby, other so-called guerrillas. even with the surrender of 28,000 men at appomattox, maybe this would not be over. indeed there were those confederates who believed this to be the case who believed well after april 9 that there might be another chance, other opportunities. they remained determined to carry on the fight. among them, thomas robert --
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thomas mumford, david mcintosh come a john mosby and others. many of whom would make their way to north carolina trying to join up with forces, that's a story for another time. what i want to do is spend the rest of my talk today talking about those men who did take up the offer. days and weeks after april 9, thousands of lee's men would complete the process of surrender and per rolling that began at appomattox. , lieutenant colonel thaddeus l parker began paroles. from his headquarters on main least 2384paroled at confederates over the next 11 days. some of those men had been captured in the fighting on the
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eighth and ninth, there was debate about whether they were to be included but as of april 11, he is rolling these men. hadly 600 of those paroled vocations in the town hospitals, some admitted only a few days earlier. the vast majority of the parolees who showed up here were able-bodied men whose units had been present at appomattox on the morning of april 9. they came from nearly every confederate state represented in the army. virginia, north carolina, south carolina, georgia, tennessee and from all of these units arrived in farmville where they signed their paroles and were given the conditions as those who had remained at appomattox. , youe west in lynchburg can see the red circle. -- where somewhere around
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2000 calvary men had fled, many were still there. many of them deserters in the morning of april 10 but there is still a significant number in lynchburg and they offered themselves up to the federal calvary once the union soldiers took over the town. 16th, 12 and authorities issued approximately 5000 paroles in lynchburg. about thoseesting paroles is unlike farmville we are soldiers showed up as individuals, maybe one or two men from the same unit, those who surrendered in lynchburg did onas a unit, a fact not lost the union major general. quite a number he reported surrendered in their organization. members of the louisiana based washington artillery had surrendered at appomattox. menpril 13, at least 42
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sought paroles in lynchburg. zone, 21s of lynchburg men from the second maryland battery, 39 men from the 11th virginia, all units who had been present on the morning of april 9 at appomattox. -- the provost marshal reported 1614 names in a three-day period. burgerville is a little bit different in that it -- is arville -- burkeville bit different. you show up and get paroled if you have not been. not only is it possible, not guaranteed, but possible you could catch a ride to petersburg , but you might get some rations. some of the men showing up here
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are doing so because they realize that is the opportunity to get home faster and get more. they also come in as a unit. many of those who had escaped or otherwise failed to arrive at appomattox made their way to this key railroad junction to get the papers they would need to get them home. on april 14, that evening, lincoln was assassinated. contrary to what we might think or even expect, rather than suspending the rolling process, lincoln's assassination made it all the more pressing the remnants of lee's army who had not surrendered willingly do so. army hadrsal of lee's inflamed the roaming bands of marauders. and otherssoldiers
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are writing, talking about what does this mean. they are worried about marauders, worried about warfare continuing and in the wake of lincoln's assassination, these fears are only heightened. there are a lot of examples as some who are stationed here at farmville who were talking about this and talking about the revenge they will seek. these terms,tended look what happened. that does not change the union high command response. instead of saying no more paroling.hey up the in the counties north of richmond, across the potomac into maryland and west virginia, the u.s. calvary is sent out looking for stragglers, looking for men who have not been paroled. back in the valley in
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winchester, hancock recognizes that hundreds if not thousands of these men have taken to the hills in the hamlets of the shenandoah valley. his announcement on april 10 hadring the same terms convinced 35 men by april 14 to turn them selves in a winchester and that's what they would do, they would go into winchester where they would seek out the provost marshal and fill out their individual parole. the possibility of assassins escaping south through the valley heighten the sense of urgency. forth anding back and he is saying don't let anyone in , but he says wait we are supposed to be making sure we paroled all of these men. we have to encourage them to come in and he had reports they would turn themselves in and now with lincoln's assassination it's unclear if they will
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continue. if they will continue to seek out parole. what hancock does as he's waiting for a response, he instructs his provost marshal to continue the parole process. but now instead of just recording the names of the individual, the company and , we look at the paroles that take place in the valley, he instructed his provost marshal to gather not only the name, company and regiment, but also a physical description, age, height, complexion and just as a side note, this is wonderful information for people doing genealogical research. haveis how the union would kept their record so we can find out what these men look like.
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suddenred why all of a this type of information shows up and i don't know this for sure but it seems perhaps this is perhaps used in confirming paroles or identifying those who had been involved in the assassination. if some men willingly sought out paroles, others found themselves hunted down so rather than wait for men to come into winchester, hancock sends out calvary patrols up and down the valley looking for units and stragglers. making their way into mount jackson on the morning of april 18. union troopers paroled at least when he five members of company b of the 12 virginia calvary. that was raised in jefferson county at that point, then west virginia. 24 men from the first maryland calvary were paroled in newmarket.
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in the wake of the assassination, word continues to spread among confederates that hancock's men would be willing to parole any man who gave himself up. , the as home in stanton yet on paroled jedediah hotchkiss noticed many were willing to do so. to seek hisposed parole. hotchkiss did not do so until early may. within a week, and these are part of the maps i have been working on. within a week, at least 1793 men had been paroled in the valley including the vast majority of the 43rd battalion, the vast majority of these men turn themselves in at winchester, the not, her mosby, he does takes off.
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many of his men do. while remnants of his army streamed throughout the virginia countryside, they gushed into richmond. of one of thech men we have crossing the bridges. there, evenhe gets for april 13, the un-paroled men are coming into richmond seeking parole. most of these men were virginians. right sayst on the it breaks out men by their regiment so just to give you a sense of this, 70 four men from the third virginia engine -- infantry. 31 from the 53rd virginia infantry and other groups of these men are coming in in units. these are not one or two men coming in at a time. a great example of someone who
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comes in at a time is spencer of the ninth virginia calvary. the familye to thank that share this picture of him. a family member told me they had this picture and lo and behold there he is. someone from richmond who turns himself in and we can now put a face to the names. it's not just virginians turning themselves in in richmond. fragments of regiments from north carolina, georgia, louisiana, florida, mississippi, alabama. 1610nth's end, at least men would turn themselves in. surrenders were going on throughout virginia in the month of april. on april 21 and 22nd, more than 500 men surrendered at the headquarters of the district of eastern virginia. the of these men belong to
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fifth and 13th virginia calvary. units organized in surrounding and appomattox norfolk counties. these are men who had probably made their way towards home and then when they get the news about the parole, make their way and on april 21 and 22nd. remember benjamin sims? forks?led at five on april 27, benjamin sims had gone home to louisa county and decided he would seek his parole. he goes to ashland where he would get his parole. another story for another time, it extended belong -- well beyond the commonwealth. overwhelmingly these are cavalry.
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a lot of these were detached units. not all of these men were men that should have been at appomattox. than 2000arolina more men from the army of north for genuine beak -- from the army of north virginia would be paroled. 450 in goldsboro and 308 in charlotte between may 1 and june 5. most of the men in that group from charlotte were from every state but as you can expect by 5 many- may 11 to june of these men were north carolinians who made their way home and decided to get paroled. intoghout april continuing may and even into june these soldiers trickled in. sometimes as individuals but often as groups. the final number of men i have in my database which is certainly not complete is
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15,739. this includes places beyond virginia and carolina and west virginia. all throughout virginia. along the northern neck. the eastern shore, on the peninsula, in richmond, in farmville, lynchburg and throughout the shenandoah valley. the process begun here at appomattox of disbanding and patrolling these armies continues. theirecided it was in best interest to turn themselves into the union provost marshal. some did so in railroad junctions in order to receive rations for transportation. huntedfound themselves down by the u.s. cavalry and felt they had no choice but to turn themselves in. confederate'sthe reasons in seeking or excepting paroles or ability to do so reflected the inclusiveness, flexibility and generosity of
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grant's terms. this often overlooked story is crucial to understanding how the war ended. always fit neatly into our story of appomattox, this definitive moment of peace. there are other armies in the field who often see this, appomattox is a stand-in for the end of the war. the fact that at least one third 's army was lee paroled at someplace other than appomattox should remind us of three things. that grant's desire for a swift and clear end to lee's army and by extension the war. that history is often far messier and less concise than we would like to imagine. in keeping with the theme of this year's series that we still have a great deal to discover about the civil war. thank you. [applause]
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>> great talk. any questions? does anyone dare set up to the mic and ask any questions? state your name if you would first. >> i am a native new yorker now transplanted to virginia. camps were prisoners set up in new york. how did they deal with that? were they given parole? >> not immediately, not until mid-summer. captured who had been would remain in those prison camps until mid-summer. that is another part of the going home process that happened later in the story. [inaudible]
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>> what we are talking about is, the ones that are in prison camps are not given parole like the soldiers in the field. they are taking the oath of allegiance or swallowing the yellow dog to be led out of the prison camps. they are taking an oath to the united states to come home. men stayed in prison camps through august and maybe even longer. any more questions? >> i have to confess i have never understood this whole parole process. there were era when not centralized databanks on the internet. if somebody surrendered in burchfield and got a parole on a piece of paper and they had to surrender their weapon and they walked home and they were
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challenged by a union calvary patrol on the way home and they said " i have been paroled and i have this piece of paper." how would the union not know it was a forgery? how would they know this was not how just don't understand the whole thing functionally work. >> you are right to point out that there is no overarching system. there are a couple different levels. the paroled lists that are , those at appomattox lists are at the company level, regimental level -- at the regimental level. officers are compiling lists, unlike these men who are going in individually. pactthere is the paroled that were printed at appomattox. you cane paroled passes
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find from winchester and other places that were mass-produced. at the cavalry goes up and down .1 of themand one rides back and says i have used all my paroled passes i will have to come back before i can finish the parole in process. there is the parole list and the parole pass. the past may not convince a union soldier israel. i have come across a handful of cases where people talk about forging a pass or they come across people they recognize from the army and say hey, i was not there, can you help me out and give me a pass? there is some debate going back and forth. as the army disperses mostly south but throughout the former confederacy east-west south that is a question, an interesting thing happens in west virginia and this is getting well beyond the story i am telling today. on april 22 attorney general
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issues a statement and grant had done some of this a few days before saying confederates from loyal states no longer had homes and unless they took the oath of loyalty they could not go back to their homes. they are from maryland. those first maryland guys cannot go home. apply to west virginia because west virginia was part of virginia when virginia seceded. mane is an example of one who has been with lee and is at appomattox and has his parole pass. what isback to now north-central west virginia and he is stopped by a group of guards. they say you cannot come back here, you're confederate. he pulls out a pass and they laugh and they say we do not care about your past. at which point -- pass. at which point he pulls out a gun and they let him pass. years later he is still being
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harassed because he is a confederate. that is a much larger story. there are all sorts of examples like that out there. >>1 we have a couple more questions. question, they did not have the technology to confirm this is this man and this is legitimate. , at the timeng is of the civil war when somebody gave their word or took an oath they tended to stick with it and live by it. whereas today we might not do that. if they gave their word they were expected to do what they said. >> my name is jim morgan. if you cover this and i missed it i apologize. i am curious about macintosh and the south carolina guys. i'm wondering what happened to him. in your list of units did you find that, you would think the
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most hard-core guys would have been south carolinians. how do you approach that? >> to answer your second question first i have not parsed the regiments in that way yet to think about, you're talking about who leaves and who doesn't? [inaudible] do you know that? i think ron enlightened me to , what soldiers deserted most from the army of northern virginia during the retreat to appomattox, anybody? not north carolina, virginia. they are marching by their homes , having calls from their family to come protect their homes, they are going by roads that will lead to their homes, the virginians are the ones they're leaving the army more than anybody else. the most troops paroled at appomattox are from, ron?
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georgia. number, whatthe ratio they were with the army. they could not take off on this road that goes to gordonsville. when they have to go to georgia. it would be a long process. i can't tell you what units the south carolinians and texans, whoever stayed the most or the longest but it is definitely those troops that had further to travel home. >> it depends on what you mean by all out. men who were stragglers and went home like benjamin simms or do you mean men like mcintosh who are determined to continue to fight and they were making their way to johnston or kirby smith? i would say overwhelmingly and this is anecdotal, they are
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virginians. they are junk virginians who , many were atge red oak church. they were going to make their way to north carolina. heads off and they both leave wonderful accounts. they made their way down to johnston and johnston says he can't remember their service. mcintosh will go on to his home in south carolina and they will hold out for quite a period of time. one of the other parts to this, another chapter to this story is what is going on in north carolina and what johnson and sherman's responses. sherman is constantly reminding grant about the threat of
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guerrilla warfare. one of the things he says is, those young hotheaded men. he is kind of right. which of those men are bound and determined to continue the fight. i think we have one more hand. >> i have a question on the confederate hospital system. once they were captured how did they do the surrender and the paroles for those people? >> they were paroled as well. the men in the hospitals are paroled as well. they are included in those numbers for richmond and farmville and lynchburg. some of them continue to convalesce. others go home. >> so must likely the provost
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stays in richmond? all very much. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend every weekend on c-span3. ago on april 4, 1949 the north atlantic treaty was signed in washington dc by the 12 founding members of what came to be known as nato. america,end on real decade of nato, a film from 1959 narrated by journalist edward r. murrow. in 1950 22 new nations joined the alliance, turkey and greece. recent storm centers of communist russian threat. in 1955 the federal republic of germany joined nato.
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eisenhower said farewell. ridgeway succeeded him. grunther anmd -- each man by his presence and uniform reasserting america's commitment for the defense of europe. and active plan together kernels and captains men of theo school alliance learned a common language. watch the entire film 70 years after the nato treaty was signed. this sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern oureal america comics for nation's passed here on american history tv. " thes week on
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communicators." "m wu talks about his book the curse of bigness." >> facebook got extremely large and only cared about money or growth and did not take their position responsibly and ended up being hacked. instagram which they controlled during the 2016 election they had this terrible affect on what passed as news. affect and political effects of facebook are enormous. >> monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. during world war ii the u.s. marine corps recruited navajo indians to create a code based on their unwritten novel whole language to help the millet -- navajo language. in a series of interviews former
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navajo coal to offer -- code talker keith liddell talks about his service. hisinterview talks about experience and takes place at his home in arizona on navajo tribal lands and on the pacific islands where he served. he reflects on the impact of returning to the battlefield 60 years later and the legacy of the navajo code talkers. joining us onor c-span3's american history tv. you produced a documentary on the novel hope code talkers, talkers,navajo code why? >> once you learn about them they are hard to forget. i had just moved on a part-time basis to santa fe and socially met the lawyer, the pro bono lawyer, for the navajo code


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